As tends to happen whenever Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech, especially one in commemoration of Al-Quds Day that explicitly rejects the ideology of Zionism and condemns the Israeli government for its inherently discriminatory, exclusivist, and ethnocentric policies and actions, all hell broke lose after the Iranian President addressed a large crowd at Tehran University on Friday.
"The existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity," Ahmadinejad said, adding that "confronting the existence of the fabricated Zionist regime is in fact protecting the rights and dignity of all human beings."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the remarks as "offensive and inflammatory." The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading nuclear negotiations with
Naturally, Ahmadinejad's words also sparked the usual shock and horror from the usual people, the same people who still insist that (1) Ahmadinejad called for
Without delving into the persistent myths and deliberate falsehoods surrounding that particular talking point (one that has been sufficiently debunked countless times though obviously never seems to cut through the hasbara) or seeking to justify anything said by Ahmadinejad, a few things should be noted:
First: While Associated Press described Ahmadinejad's comment as "one of his sharpest attacks yet against the Jewish state," which seemed to indicate that this is the first time such language has been used, they failed to point out that Ahmadinejad has used this exact same phrase before.
After Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a "National and Islamic Solidarity for the Future of Palestine" conference in February 2010, Ha'aretz reported he had said that "the existence of 'the Zionist regime' is an insult to humanity, according to Iranian news agency IRNA."
Later that year, he said the very same thing.
Second (and more important): The "insult to humanity" phrase was not coined by the Iranian President to describe a political power structure defined by demographic engineering, colonialism, racism, and violence.
For example, a
But the phrase has far deeper roots - roots with which the UN Secretary-General himself should be well acquainted.
A joint declaration by 20 Asian and African countries issued to the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on
The declaration stated:
1. We condemn categorically the apartheid policies of the Government of
South Africa, based on racial superiority, as immoral and inhuman;
2. We deprecate most strongly the South African Government's irresponsible flouting of world opinion by its persistent refusal to put an end to its racial policies;
3. The apartheid policies of the Government of South Africa are a flagrant violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as being an insult to humanity.
The very first International
Conference on Human Rights, held by the UN in (get this)
Tehran from April 22 to May 13, 1968, "condemned the brutal and inhuman
practice of apartheid," "deplore[d] the Government of
South Africa's continuous insult to humanity," and "declare[d]
that the policy of apartheid or other similar evils are a crime
The UN General Assembly has repeatedly reaffirmed "that the conclusion of an internal convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid would be an important contribution to the struggle against apartheid, racism, economic exploitation, colonial domination and foreign occupation" and, more specifically, the UN has affirmed time and again that "the inalienable rights of all peoples, and in particular...the Palestinian people, to freedom, equality and self-determination, and the legitimacy of their struggles to restore those rights."
No one can accuse Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of having any affinity whatsoever for Zionism or the government of
In April 1976, just two months before the Soweto Uprising, South African Prime Minister (and known former Nazi sympathizer) John Vorster took an official state visit to
Vorster lamented that both
We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring
international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from
That oppressive regime exists to this day.
Israel's Knesset Speaker from 1999 to 2003 and former chairman of the Jewish
Agency for Israel, has long determined that
"Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and
democracy," insisting the only way to maintain total Jewish control over
all of historic Palestine would be to "abandon democracy" and
"institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison
camps and detention villages." He has also called
Yossi Sarid, who served as a member of the Knesset between 1974 and 2006, has written of
Yossi Paritzky, former Knesset and Cabinet minister, writing about the systematic institutionalization and legalization of racial and religious discrimination in Israel, stated that Israel does not act like a democracy in which "all citizens regardless of race, religious, gender or origin are entitled to equality." Rather, by implementing more and more discriminatory laws that treat Palestinians as second-class citizens, "Israel decided to be like apartheid‑era South Africa, and some will say even worse countries that no longer exist."
Shulamit Aloni, another former Knesset and Cabinet member, has written that "the state of
In 2008, the Association of Civil Rights in
Ehud Olmert, when he was Prime Minister, told a Knesset committee meeting, "For sixty years there has been discrimination against Arabs in
Ehud Barak has admitted that "[a]s long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."
Shlomo Gazit, former member of Palmach, an elite unit of the Haganah, wrote in Ha'aretz that "in the present situation, unfortunately, there is no equal treatment for Jews and Arabs when it comes to law enforcement. The legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime."
Last summer, Knesset minister Ahmed Tibi told the Jerusalem Post that "keeping the status quo will deepen apartheid in Israel as it did in South Africa," while Gabriela Shalev, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, told The Los Angeles Times last year that, in terms of public opinion of Israel, "I have the feeling that we are seen more like South Africa once was."
Council on Foreign Relations member Stephen Roberts, after returning from a trip to Israel and the West Bank, wrote in The Nation that "Israel has created a system of apartheid on steroids, a horrifying prison with concrete walls as high as twenty-six feet, topped with body-ravaging coils of razor wire."
In April 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu's own nephew, Jonathan Ben Artzi wrote that Israel's "policies of segregation and discrimination that ravaged (and still ravage) my country and the occupied Palestinian territories" undoubtedly fit the definition of Apartheid.
Linguist, cultural anthropologist, and Hebrew University professor David Shulman wrote in May 2012 in The New York Review of Books that there already exists "a single state between the Jordan River and the sea" controlled by Israel and which fits the definition of an "ethnocracy." He continues,
Those who recoil at the term "apartheid" are invited to offer a
better one; but note that one of the main architects of this system, Ariel
Sharon, himself reportedly adopted South African
terminology, referring to the noncontiguous Palestinian enclaves he envisaged
These Palestinian Bantustans now exist, and no one should pretend that they're anything remotely like a "solution" to
Whether those who get hysterical over Ahmadinejad's
rhetoric agree with the above assessments - all of which were made by prominent
Israeli and Jewish politicians, officials, and academics - is irrelevant.
It's clear that Ahmadinejad himself would agree.
Consequently, his reference to
Posted by Nima Shiraz